Football Recruiting: Defense

With five commitments already and having so few scholarships to give, the Bruins are being very picky with their scholarship offers. Here's a look at the top recruiting targets on defense, including some elite national defensive backs...

The football recruiting class of 2007 is poised to be one of the smallest classes in some time for UCLA, with only nine scholarships to give as of the beginning of the spring evaluation period. There are always rumors and discussion about potentially more scholarships becoming available, and some always do tend to open up by signing day in February.

However, with the new APR, should too many scholarships open up, it could penalize the program, specifically when it comes to scholarships. So it's likely that they will end up in the 10-11 scholarship range.

To date, UCLA has five commitments, three on offense and two on defense, meaning their class is about half complete.

In this review, we'll try to lay out exactly which players have been offered, who could be offered, and what are UCLA's priorities at each position.

This isn't going to be a comprehensive list of everyone UCLA has shown interest in, but a list that concentrates on those players UCLA has offered and those that could possibly receive an offer.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES:

UCLA picked up two and possibly three defensive tackles in the last recruiting class (Jerzy Siewierski, Darius Savage, and possibly Andy Keane) so, with limited scholarships to give they wouldn't likely give out more than one to a DT unless the second was considered a very elite prospect. They already have a commitment from one.

Brian Price, 6-3, 270, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw. COMMITTED. Price was the first player in the class of 2007 to commit to UCLA, pledging to the Bruins at their Spring Scrimmage. Price had offers from Arizona, California and USC, but chose the Bruins with teammate, running back Raymond Carter. The Defensive Player of the Year in the Coliseum League, Price had an outstanding junior year, recording 117 tackles, including 22 sacks. He is probably the top defensive tackle in the state. Offered

Da'John Harris, 6-4, 250, Gardena (Calif.) Serra. Harris is also getting a lot of interest as a tight end and he could end up on that side of the ball in college, or even at defensive end. With UCLA having a commitment from Nate Chandler, that probably means if Harris were to be offered, and come to UCLA, it would be on the defensive side of the ball. He's got a handful of offers, but not from his two favorite schools, USC and UCLA.

Mackey Mailo, 6-2, 250, Carson (Calif.). Mailo has looked good at the camps and combines we've seen him at so far. He has good size, and could even project to offensive guard in college. He doesn't have any offers, and he has family connections to USC, which is his leader.

Tyrone Duncan, 6-3, 295, Westlake Village (Calif.) Westlake. Duncan played next to UCLA-signee Jeff Miller last season, and he has good size as well as interest in the Bruins. He attended some UCLA games last year with Miller. He is likely a wait-and-see prospect.

Porter Hill, 6-4, 280, Compton (Calif.). Hill was at UCLA's Junior Day and he is cousins with linebacker Reggie Carter. He only played six games on defense, spending most of his time at tight end. He has an offer from Baylor and the Bears and USC lead for him.

Other Defensive Tackles Of Note:

Brian Lambert, 6-1, 285, Tustin (Calif.)
Justin Landseadel, 6-1, 240, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian
Fred Koloto, 6-4, 270, Palo Alto (Calif.)
Will Blackwell, 6-4, 290, West Monroe (La.)

DEFENSIVE ENDS:

The Bruins picked up four defensive ends in the class of 2007 (Reginald Stokes, Dylan Rush, David Carter and Jeff Miller), so they're likely only bringing in one in the class of 2007. They have offered only one defensive end in this class so far, and a few of their targets likely will move to linebacker in college.

Everson Griffen, 6-4, 260, Avondale (Ariz.) Agua Fria. Griffen has double-digit offers, and the Bruins are in his top four with USC and the two in-state schools. Also plays running back (794 yards rushing) but will play defensive end in college. Griffen is a good athlete who also does the shot-put and discus for his track team. He's considered one of the best all-around prospects in the west. Offered

Akeem Ayers, 6-3, 220, Los Angeles (Calif.) Verbum Dei. Ayers has long said that UCLA is his favorite school, but they have yet to offer. He has yet to submit his transcripts, but if he does soon, and they check out, UCLA could extend one. Ayers will probably move to linebacker in college, where he has stated he wants to play.

Kenny Rowe, 6-3, 220, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. Rowe is the top defensive end in the state, and has a good number of offers, including one from USC, where his brother signed in February. UCLA has him on the radar, and he was at UCLA's Junior Day in March. The Bruins haven't offered him yet, but will be keep recruiting him.

Apiata Tuihalamaka, 6-3, 220, Gardena (Calif.) Serra. Like Griffen, Tuihalamaka also plays running back, but his future is on defense, where he may also project to a linebacker. He's got five offers, but none from the two L.A. schools, who he is looking at closely.

Alex Probasco, 6-4, 245, Manhattan Beach (Calif.) Mira Costa. Probasco was at UCLA's Junior Day, and has said that if UCLA offered him, he'd commit, being his favorite school growing up. Also plays tight end, but defensive end is where his future is. He will camp at UCLA this summer, as he has done numerous times growing up, looking to earn an offer.

Other Defensive Ends Of Note:

Eugene Daniels, 6-3, 240, Killeen (Tex.) Shoemaker
Luther Davis, 6-4, 255, West Monroe (La.)
Matt Duffy, 6-4, 245, Manhattan Beach (Calif.) Mira Costa
Duke Lemmens, 6-5, 240, Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian
Dominic Glover, 6-4, 240, Mission Viejo (Calif.)
Tonio Celotto, 6-3, 240, Simi Valley (Calif.) Royal
Eron Moses, 6-4, 255, Anaheim (Calif.) Esperanza

LINEBACKERS:

A position where UCLA figures to bring in at least two prospects is linebacker. They've only offered one, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite's Chris Galippo, who's committed to USC. There are several good prospects, that like UCLA, who UCLA is recruting but could wait to offer until after the evaluation period.

Terrance Pritchett, 6-3, 200, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant. Pritchett is one of the best linebackers in the state, and arguably the top linebacker in Northern California. He has said that if UCLA offered, he'd commit, and he's a good student, with a 3.5 GPA. They will watch him this spring, and he could be offered before summer.

Steve Sloan, 6-3, 228, San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty. If Pritchett is the top linebacker in Northern California, than Sloan is 1b. California and UCLA are Sloan's leaders, and he picked up an offer from California recently. He had said that the first school to offer him would get his commitment, but he also said recently he may wait until summer is over.

Andre Ferguson, 6-4, 210, Redlands (Calif.) East Valley. One of the fastest rising prospects in Southern California, Ferguson is starting to rack up some more offers. He was at UCLA's Junior Day, and has said that the Bruins were his leader. We saw him this spring and he looks heavier, though he could still stand to put on another 10-15 pounds, given his height. He is explosive and has good lateral quickness.

D.J. Holt, 6-2, 240, Encino (Calif.) Crespi. Holt will play defensive end again this fall for Crespi, but he has stated he expects to move to linebacker in college. He is a very talented player on both sides of the ball, and some schools are recruiting him as an athlete. UCLA and USC are his favorites, having attended both Junior Days.

Chris Carter, 6-2, 205, Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser. Carter has ties to UCLA, his brother David signing with the Bruins in February, and the younger brother likes the Bruins. He attended UCLA's Junior Day and they are his favorite, though USC, Arizona and Fresno State are all showing interest. UCLA is in a wait-and-see mode with him, as he is definitely a linebacker in college, but he's played exclusively defensive end in high school.

Robert Mullins, 6-2, 210, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey. Mullins is a good student who is a good linebacker prospect. There has been some questions about his size, but he's a play maker. He was invited to UCLA's Junior Day and the Bruins are watching him closely. Texas and USC were his leaders.

Chris Colasanti, 6-2, 235, Bloomfield (Mich.) Brother Rice. Colasanti is being recruited by Chuck Bullough, and he has said he likes the Bruins. He reportedly has a verbal offer from UCLA, but all the top schools in the Big Ten are all over him, and have offered.

Other Linebackers Of Note:

Jordan Campbell, 6-0, 225, Norco (Calif.)
Shane Melbo, 6-1, 200, Escondido (Calif.) San Pasqual
Kyle Hanna, 5-11, 205, Colton (Calif.)
Doncel Bolt, 6-3, 230, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly

CORNERBACKS:

UCLA only brought in one defensive back in the class of 2007, Alterraun Verner, and he will play cornerback. They also already have a commitment from one of the best cover corners in the West for the class of 2007. They've offered four cornerbacks already, and will probably take at least two.

Courtney Viney, 5-8, 170, Fresno (Calif.) Edison. COMMITTED. What Viney lacks in size he makes up for in instincts and quickness. He was the best cornerback at the national U.S. Army All-American Combine in January, and reminds many of former Bruin and Edison great Ricky Manning Jr. Viney had been going to UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker's defensive gback camps for several years, and once Walker was hired, it all but sealed the deal for Viney to become a Bruin. Offered

Donovan Warren, 6-0, 185, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. Warren is the other top cornerback in the West in this class, and while he maintains that he is open, USC is still thought to be the front-runner for him. Regardless, Warren will have offers from all over when it is all said and done, and the Bruin staff has already extended one to him. He is one of their top targets in this class. Offered

Shane Vereen, 6-0, 175, Valencia (Calif.). If Vereen wanted to, he could play running back at the next level, as several schools like him there. However, he could also be a top defensive back, and that is where the Bruin staff envisions him, having offered him as a cornerback. He has eight offers to date, and will probably receive more. Vereen attended a few home games last fall and was at UCLA's Junior Day in March. Offered

Cedric Everson, 6-0, 175, Detroit (Mich.) Mumford. Everson has nearly 50 official letters, with UCLA being one of the most recent schools to offer, as well as USC. Georgia Tech is surprisingly his leader, and most of the Midwest schools have extended offers. Offered

Woodny Turenne, 6-2, 190, College of Sequoias (Calif.). A JC prospect, Turenne is originally from Florida, where receivers coach D.J. McCarthy first saw him, and recruited him to Central Florida. The staff could offer Turenne, and he has said he would like to stay in California if he didn't go back to the South.

Lonnie Wishom, 5-11, 180, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. One of the top defensive backs in the Bay Area, Wishom has the Bruins near the top of his list, along with hometown Cal and Oregon. A good cover corner, Wishom will be doing the camp and combine circuit heavily this summer, looking for his first offer.

Other Cornerbacks Of Note:

David Ross, 6-1, 185, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez
Larry Parker, 5-11, 165, San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine
Steve Stepter, 5-9, 170, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw
Andre Christian, 5-11, 180, Oakland (Calif.) Skyline
Vonzell McDowell, 5-10, 170, Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach

SAFETIES:

UCLA is definitely in the market for at least one safety prospect, with not one safety signing last February. They've offered two safeties in the class of 2007, both out of state prospects.

Jordan Bernstine, 5-10, 200, Des Moines (Iowa) Lincoln. Bernstine was the MVP of the Scout Combine in Iowa City and is seeing his stock shoot through the roof. UCLA just offered Bernstine this week, yet at the same time, in-state Iowa did, and that could prove tough to beat in the long run. Offered

Derek Knight, 6-0, 190, Detroit (Mich.) Renaissance. Knight picked up his official offer from UCLA in the last few weeks, and he has double-digit offers, including a handful of Big Ten schools. Arizona State has also offered Knight, and he is hoping to take an unofficial trip to UCLA this summer. The Bruin staff, specifically Chuck Bullough, will be at his high school in May. Offered

Todd Doxey, 6-2, 180, San Diego (Calif.) Hoover. Doxey also could play receiver in college, but we think safety is where his future is. He's gotten a couple of Mountain West offers, but he's hoping that UCLA and Arizona State offer, as they are his leaders. He attended UCLA's Junior Day.

Shane Horton, 6-2, 195, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame. Horton is the son of a former UCLA lineman, Myke Horton, who played under Dick Vermeil and has been going to UCLA games his whole life. Many consider him one of the best safeties in the state, and was at UCLA's Junior Day in March. He's still waiting for his first offer.

Logan Ketchum, 6-3, 195, Oak Park (Calif.). The younger brother of Bruin receiver Gavin Ketchum, Logan was at UCLA's Junior Day as well as at San Diego State and Colorado, and while UCLA is recruiting him, he has said that his brother's decision wouldn't have a bearing on his. He's also being recruited by some schools as a receiver. UCLA will probably continue to evaluate him.

Other Safeties Of Note:

Lance Mitchell, 6-1, 180, Pasadena (Calif.) Muir
Aaron Bagsby, 6-1, 178, Pottstown (Penn.) The Hill School
Terrance Dennis, 6-0, 180, Pomona (Calif.) Diamond Ranch
Alfred Hines, 6-1, 200, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Phillip Thomas, 6-1, 180, Bakersfield (Calif.)

SPECIAL TEAMS: Because of the dearth of scholarships, and the relative youth of their current special teams players, UCLA will likely not use a scholarship here. Aaron Perez will be a redshirt sophomore, freshman Kai Forbath will likely redshirt with the reinstatement of Justin Medlock and Christian Yount arrives in January as a longsnapper.


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